Cicada000‘s Xlog

Cicada000‘s Xlog


Incomplete Google Pixel Experience

⚠️ Pre-reading Tips#

  This text represents only the author's thoughts during writing. I don't like listing parameters, but prefer to talk about experiences. It leans towards experiences and feelings, and is more subjective. If you don't like my article, please click the "Exit" button in the upper left corner of the screen. If you want to argue in the comments section, I unconditionally admit that everything you say is correct, and welcome rational discussions. If there are any mistakes in the article, please feel free to point them out in the comments section.

Main Text#

  As the title suggests, this article is about the incomplete experience of the Google Pixel series. Why "incomplete"? First, because I have only used Pixel 1, 2XL, and 3, and have not used the entire series of phones (poor student party). Second, due to restrictions in the domestic environment, some service experiences have not been very good, so I can only provide a general overview.

  According to the purchase time, the first one I came into contact with should be the Pixel 2XL. At the beginning of 20XX, I wanted to get a spare phone and was interested in the Duoxin AI2 Pro. After thinking about it, I found that it wasn't worth it, so I ended up browsing foreign garbage and discovered the Pixel series.


Pixel 2XL#

  Originally, with a budget of 600, I could just afford a Pixel 2 on the second-hand market. But because I liked rounded corners and was not good at bargaining, I ended up paying 800 for a well-maintained 2XL. The first impression when I got it was: this thing is huge... When buying it, I didn't pay attention to its size, or maybe my hands are small, so it feels a bit too big to hold (the size of Pixel 3 is just right), but I quickly got used to it. The reverse order of the volume and power buttons compared to domestic phones, the large forehead and chin with speakers, and the design of the glass and metal back panel made me exclaim "Awesome". Perhaps from that moment on, I, who had only used virtual Google products like Google accounts, became interested in Google's physical products, and this laid the groundwork for me buying two more Pixels later on.


  I don't play large games much, so the experience of using the powerful Snapdragon 835 was quite satisfying. Coupled with the simplicity of the native system, the Pixel 2XL was generally smooth in 2021, except for some lag when encountering a few poorly optimized apps. The dual speakers provided a great audiovisual experience, and I had a good experience playing some rhythm games (unfortunately, I'm not very skilled).

  Then there's the famous Google Camera. Maybe you haven't heard of Google's phones, but you must have heard of Google's camera algorithms. When I first started using the phone, I heard about the amazing algorithms of the Google Camera, and I wanted to find a Google Camera for my Huawei P9, but unfortunately I couldn't find one (later I learned that Huawei can hardly use the Google Camera). In the end, I randomly found a version and installed it. When I excitedly opened the camera and pressed the shutter button, the flash suddenly turned on, and it just kept on, and on... Forcing the Google Camera to stop didn't work, uninstalling it didn't work either, and I had to restart to solve the problem. Since then, I haven't had much contact with the Google Camera until I got this Pixel 2XL. When I saw the Google Camera again, I was amazed, especially the night photos I took while playing with it in my room. The stability of the night shots, the high-quality imaging brought by Super Res Zoom during digital zooming, all made me realize the broad prospects of computational photography. I also realized clearly that when the hardware quality of the camera is comparable or slightly inferior, computational photography is the key to victory. This is also the reason why the first three generations of Pixels still use a single camera in the market where dual or even multiple cameras are prevalent.

  Speaking of the Google Camera, I have to mention Google Photos. For the beloved Pixel series, unlimited photo backups are available. Within three years of each Pixel's release, original quality backups are allowed, and after that, high quality backups are available (see Google Photos for details). Since the Pixel 2XL lost the ability to back up in original quality earlier this year, I bought a Google Pixel 1, which allows me to enjoy permanent original quality backups.


Pixel 1#

  Pixel 1 enjoys the benefit of unlimited original quality uploads to Google Photos. I have backed up many photos with it. However, it always overheats during the backup process, often in an awkward situation of "backup-cool down-backup-cool down". Unfortunately, just a month after I got it, it couldn't turn on anymore due to a common motherboard problem.

  Not long after getting the Pixel 1, in order to have a better experience, I got a Pixel 3 to play with.


Pixel 3#

  Compared to the Pixel 2XL, the Pixel 3 takes the experience to another level it's a step back in terms of experience. The more comfortable haptic motor, the compact body that can be easily held in one hand, the rounded screen that matches the frame, and the matte glass back panel with a skin-like texture, all gave me a new understanding of Pixel after nearly a year of using the Pixel 2XL.

  Compared to the Pixel 2XL, the Pixel 3 feels slightly smaller. It upgraded from the Snapdragon 835 to the 845, and the front camera became dual cameras (which I, a straight male, don't really need). The speaker openings became smaller, and the back panel material was changed. Apart from these changes, there are hardly any other differences. But it added a very practical feature, which is that the waterproof rating was upgraded from IP67 to IP68. This means that I can confidently put it in water to cool it down when it gets hot. This feature is really useful when the phone's temperature easily rises above 50°C in the summer.


Interesting Features#

  After briefly discussing the three Pixel phones, let me introduce two features that impressed me the most.

Now Playing#

  The first feature I want to introduce is Now Playing. When enabled, Pixel will recognize the ambient sound and display the song title on the lock screen when it hears a song (it has a higher recognition rate for Western songs, and can also recognize popular Chinese songs, but it's more difficult for niche songs). Some might think: Isn't this just like the song recognition feature of ×× Music? What's so special about it? Indeed, these two features are similar, but the Pixel feature can be used offline, which means you don't need to upload the audio to a server and can complete the recognition locally.


  The reason it can recognize music offline is that Google generates a local database of tens of thousands of popular songs based on your location, which takes up less than 500MB. It then compares the collected music sounds with the local database after a series of noise reduction and other processing to generate a feature code, allowing it to recognize the currently playing music. (Google hasn't explained the specific principles, so I wrote this based on online analysis. Please point out any errors if there are any.)

AR Features#

  The second feature is the AR experience. Before I came into contact with Pixel, I always thought that AR applications on the Android ecosystem were not as good as Apple's in terms of functionality and quality. But later I discovered that there are actually many good AR applications on the Android side as well.


  For example, there is a similar feature to Apple's AR preview product model on the official Apple website, which is also available on Android. If you search for keywords like "EVA" in the Google search engine, you can directly view their models in the browser and use AR to see them in the real world.

  Many times, what we discuss is not only the functionality itself, but also its past - technical support, and future - application prospects. From traditional photography to computational photography, from previous special effects to current AR, all of them require strong technical support and have broad application prospects, don't they?

Active Edge#

  By gripping the edges of the Pixel 2 series and Pixel 3 series phones, you can activate shortcut functions such as voice assistants. This is made possible by Google placing force sensors on the sides of the phone. However, I don't use this feature frequently in my daily life.



  Only with rich technological reserves can we have excellent experiences. The so-called experience is not about superior performance, but about refinement and comfort. And Pixel is the phone that gives me this kind of experience. (This paragraph is written in a more subjective manner, and everyone may have different answers in their hearts.)


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